May 1, 2012
Ferdinand R. Gaite, National President
Santi Dasmarinas Jr., COURAGE 1st Vice President
MANILA – Thousands of government employees, their families and communities today marched under the banner of the militant COURAGE, the national center of government employees, and joined their private sector counterpart, the Kilusang Mayo Uno in Plaza Miranda and Mendiola. A testament to what COURAGE claimed as their response to the supposed May Day workers’ surprise package announcement of President Aquino.
“Obviously, we are dismayed. Unlike those who chose to dine with the President in Malacanang, we are here on the streets to dramatize our protest. Its treatment of its very own employees is reflective of the Aquino government’s seeming prejudice against the workers”, Ferdinand Gaite, COURAGE National President said.
The one month advance implementation of the last tranche of the Salary Standardization Law 3 or SSL 3 as announced by President Aquino yesterday did little to appease the restiveness among the state’s 1.4 million employees, stressed Gaite, in the midst of the spiraling costs of living and a practically salary freeze policy of the government. “It’s a measly P713 a month increase for the minimum pay. Considering the rate of inflation, it’s not even enough to make up for the lost value of our pay”.
Passed in 2008 under the Arroyo Administration, SSL 3 mandates a four-year staggered increase for the state employees. It is highly criticized for granting bigger pay for those occupying higher government posts while providing measly increases for the rank and file workers. “To brag about something that is not even to the credit of his administration is pure brazenness”, the leader pointed out.
“With the minimum pay in June becoming P9,000, excluding the mandatory deductions such as taxes, GSIS, Philhealth, and PAG-IBIG premium payments, it is still way behind even the government’s conservative estimate of cost of living which now stands at P29,000. Thus, the need for a P6,000 increase in the minimum pay becomes all the more urgent”.
COURAGE said they will intensify their campaign for P6,000 minimum pay increase demand and vow to mobilize even bigger in July, at the annual State of the Nation Address.